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The Holocaust: A Chronology and Documentary

by

Robert A. Michael

Professor of European History

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

(New York: Jason Aronson Publishers, 1998)

©1998 by Robert A. Michael

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Epigraph

Preface

Introduction

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

1938

1939

1940

1941
1942

1943

1944

1945

1946

Footnotes

References
Epigraph

He is an older man, walking with his young daughter through

their disorderly English garden. She wonders aloud why all the mice

are gone. He tells her that snakes have eaten them all. With the

innocence of childhood, she looks into his face and asks, "Daddy, why

do living things kill each other?" The father looks down into his

daughter's face, reflecting on an answer. After a while his eyes fill with

tears as he replies, "I don't know, my darling. I don't know." This

anguished parent was Charles Darwin, a man who had answered so

many other complicated questions about life and death. But even he,

confronted by this fundamental issue can only utter an admission of

ignorance.

Imagine then the difficulty for an historian when confronted by

the horror of the Holocaust? How does the historian explain why the

Western world has chosen Jews as the metaphor for suffering and the

reality of victimization? How does the historian confront the monstrous

belief that the Jews are radical enemies of the state and of humanity,

inherently evil beings who must be eradicated from the face of the

earth? How does the historian explain the silence of the world to the

Nazi atrocities? How does the historian face the murder of two million

Jewish children? There are no easy answers for these questions. Eugon

Kogon has suggested that


As you view the history of our time, turn and look at the

piles of bodies, pause for a short moment and imagine that this

poor residue of flesh and bones is your father, your child, your

wife, is the one you love. See yourself and those nearest to you,

to whom you are devoted heart and soul, thrown naked into the

dirt, tortured, starving, killed.”


Preface:

This chronology of the German war against the European Jews,

the Holocaust (also called by the Hebrew Shoah, the Yiddish Hrbn, and

in Nazi-Deutsch Endloesung der Juden Fragen, or Final Solution of the

Jewish Problem), traces the events of the years 1933 through 1946.

The intentional focus on the Jews victimized during the Holocaust is not

meant to diminish the suffering and deaths of millions of others during

this horrible period of history. A pragmatic German goal was to enslave

and exploit the non-Jewish populations of Europe; incidental to this

goal was the killing of millions of non-Jews. But the other, less

pragmatic and more ideological, intention was the slaughter of the

whole Jewish people in Europe.

A chronology of the Holocaust can never be totally accurate.

Authoritative histories differ not only as to the specific dates of

important and well-known wartime events, such as the Soviet

reconquest of Stalingrad (Volgograd), but they also disagree as to

many of the most important dates concerning the Holocaust, such as

the timetable for the decision on the Final Solution of the Jewish

Problem.

What follows is a chronology enhanced by eyewitness testimony,

the experiences of Jewish victims, their victimizers, and the

bystanders, all of whom speak for themselves. Included also are

descriptions of occurrences and the reproduction of primary documents


before 1933 that run roughly parallel with the events and writtten

material of the Holocaust. Secondary material is kept to a minimum.


Introduction:

Anti-Jewishness was the essential cause of the Holocaust. The

word antisemitism is a nineteenth-century German word

(Antisemitismus) replacing Jew-hatred (Judenhass) in polite discourse.

Antisemitism carries with it overtones of scientific authority and racism

and is often applied to modern, allegedly secular, anti-Jewishness.

Some scholars restrict the concept of antisemitism to those who not

only dislike or hate Jews, but who foment political action against Jews.1

But history has repeatedly shown that anti-Jewish action results from

anti-Jewish feelings. Are we to say that a bigot who writes anti-Jewish

material read by thousands or even tens of millions of people but who

does not directly connect to a political plan is not antisemitic?

Certainly, not in the common usage of the word. Admittedly, there are

distinctions to be made between St. Jerome, who claimed that all Jews

were Judases who betrayed God for money; St. John Chrysostom, who

argued that Jews “grew fit for slaughter"; Martin Luther, who described

a multipoint plan to expropriate Jews, compel them into forced labor,

exile them, and kill them; and Adolf Hitler, who articulated the

previously existing anti-Jewish ideas and who expressed the previously

existing anti-Jewish feelings of his audience, showed them a way finally

to solve the "Jewish problem," and saw to it that it was carried out.

1Richard Levy, Antisemitism in the Modern World,


2-11.
What does it take to convince average people to murder defenseless

Jewish adults and children, sick and elderly? Certainly not simply the

ravings of a madman. It takes a charismatic leader who articulates the

hatred and anger that the audience already feels toward the Jews and

points out a remedy.

Neither Sts. Jerome and Chrysostom nor Luther could have been

Nazis; they lived centuries earlier. But what is so appalling is that their

ideas parallel those of the Nazis. There is a "seamless web" among all

three of these Jew haters, each of whom participated in establishing

that Jews were evil and in giving authoritative "permission" to attack

Jews for their alleged evil. As when a pebble is thrown into a pool, the

resulting ripples are not equally powerful. At the heart of the horrors of

the Holocaust were the Nazis and Germans, followed closely by their

collaborators. Then came many citizens of the Allied nations, of

occupied Europe, and of neutral Europe who knowingly turned their

backs on the Jews.

Antisemitism suggests that it was not the religion of the Jews

that stirred hostility; it was instead aspects of the Jews' character (for

example, greed and political radicalism) manifested in their behavior

that caused anti-Jewish antagonism. But in the minds of those hostile

toward Jews, anti-Jewishness is both a religious antipathy and an attack

on the expression of the Jews’ nature and behavior. Because of this, I

will use the words Jew-hatred, antisemitism, Judeophobia, and anti-


Jewishness synonymously. I apply the word antisemite to anyone who

writes, or otherwise expresses a prejudice, against Jews, or who acts in

an anti-Jewish manner.

Christian anti-Jewishness is not by itself a sufficient cause of the

Holocaust, but it is a necessary cause. The anti-Jewishness that

sustains, indeed dominates, antisemitism is essentially a religious

antipathy to Jews deeply rooted in Christian ideology. For nearly two

millennia, theological animosity toward Jews and toward the Jewish

spirit stands as the most significant explanation of Jew-hatred. The

more entrenched Christianity became, for example, the worse and

more frequent the anti-Jewish rhetoric of secular Roman law became.

Christianized Roman emperors of the fourth and fifth centuries

considered the Jews:

“sacrilegious assemblies”

“polluted with the Jewish disease”

“contaminated with Jewish sacraments”

“insulters of the Christian faith”

a “plague that spreads widely”

“the abominable and vile”

“enemies of Roman law”

“monstrous heretics”

“the worst of men”

“blindly senseless”
The emperors referred to Judaism as

“a deadly and sacrilegious sect”

“a brothel”

“the Jewish perversity, alien and hostile to the Roman Empire”

“the mark of Jewish filth”

“corrupt with the filth of its particular sect”

“the insanity of the Jewish blasphemy”

“an abominable sect and rite”

“frightful and hideous”

These descriptions mirrored the language of the Church Fathers.

Long before Hitler and the Nazis declared the Jews socially dead,

Christians had proclaimed them evil. St. Ambrose, who saw any

contact with Jews as a defilement, believed that due to "the stench of

its crimes, the Jewish people soiled its pretended bodily purity by the

internal feces of its soul." What does it take to convince average

people to murder defenseless adults and children? Certainly not just

the ravings of a madman. It takes a charismatic leader who articulates

the hatred and anger that the audience already feels. St. Augustine

called them Cains. St. John Chrysostom called for their deaths: like

useless animals, Jews “grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said:

‘As for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over

them, bring them here and slay them before me.’”

The Church Fathers, medieval theologians and Popes, the


sixteenth-century founders of Protestantism (Luther and Calvin),

eighteenth-century philosophers, nineteenth-century writers and

politicians, and many, if not most, ordinary people in the twentieth-

century until after the Holocaust felt that the Jews were alienated,

dishonored people unworthy of human rights and protection, existing

only by virtue of Christian charity. Anti-Jewish theology was so

influential that even when Christians knew no Jews personally, a high

degree of anti-Jewishness did exist.

Ideology was not the only cause of the Nazi Holocaust—political,

economic, psycho-social factors also contributed. But the anti-Jewish

aspects of Christian thought and theology, the anti-Jewish Christian

mindset and attitudes, and the precedents provided by the churches'

historical relationship to Jews significantly conditioned the plan,

establishment, and prosecution of the Holocaust. The churches and

their theologians had formulated a compelling religious, social, and

moral ideology (ideas with emotional impact) that provided a

conceptual framework of the Jew as less than human or inhuman--as

traitors, murderers, plague, pollution, filth, devils, and insects--long

before the Christians of the Third Reich did. As Aldous Huxley observed

that “If you call a man a bug, it means you propose to treat him as a

bug.”

Judeophobia was rife not only among Allied government officials

but also among the Allied peoples and writers. That many of the
greatest American and British writers, the creators and caretakers of

Western culture, were antagonistic to Jews reveals the depth and

breadth of anti-Jewish attitudes. One single example, of dozens, before

and during the Holocaust will suffice here. Employing traditional

images of Judas and Shylock, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote this of a Jew

who sat across from him at dinner one night:

“There sat the very Jew of Jews; the distilled essence of all the

Jews that have . . . been born since Jacob's time; he was Judas

Iscariot; he was the Wandering Jew; he was the worst, and at the

same time, the truest type of his race . . .. I never beheld

anything so ugly and disagreeable, and preposterous, and

laughable, as the outline of his profile; it was so hideously Jewish,

and so cruel . . .. I rejoiced exceedingly in this Shylock, this

Iscariot; for the sight of him justified me in the repugnance I have

always felt towards his race.”

In The Marble Faun, Hawthorne seems more "modern" in his anti-

Jewishness when he refers to the Jews as “the ugliest, most evil-

minded” people, “resembling . . . maggots when they over-populate a

decaying cheese.” This striking image is replicated by Adolf Hitler in

Mein Kampf: “If you cut even cautiously into [the Jewish] abscess, you

found, like a maggot in a rotting body, often dazzled by the sudden

light—a kike!”

It has been asked how Christian people could permit such


atrocities against the Jews as occurred during the Holocaust and why

so few tried to intercede. The answer is that the same principles that

run through earlier Christian assaults on Jews, Judaism, and

Jewishness--on the Jewish spirit--drive the attack on the Jews during the

Holocaust. It is obvious that Hitler and his collaborators (German and

non-German) were not good Christians, yet almost all of them were

born and raised in Christian homes; they and their children were

baptized, confirmed, and married in churches, attended Church

services, listened to priests' and ministers' sermons, served as altar

boys, and were officially recorded as Christians. I am not implying that

every Christian was anti-Jewish. Indeed, the evidence suggests that a

sizable minority of Christians in every generation sympathized with

Jews, had friendly relations with Jews, even married Jews. But anti-

Jewish feelings were so prevalent among Christian individuals who

have made their mark on history that we are surprised at least up to

1945 when an important Christian is not anti-Jewish.

The most notorious racist of the twentieth century, Adolf Hitler,

oftentimes talks as a traditional biological racist. But his rhetoric

reminds us of Catholic Spain in the sixteenth century, when and where

the first institutionalized racism occurred in the Christian government's

purity of blood laws. Near the end of his life, Hitler concludes that

biological racism is a sham. It is the Jewish mind and values, the

“Jewish spirit,” that he hates. The only way to rid the world of this
Jewish spirit, he determines, is to destroy the Jewish bodies that house

it. The Jews are “an abstract race of the mind [that] has its origins,

admittedly, in the Hebrew religion . . .. A race of the mind is something

more solid, more durable than just a [biological] race, pure and

simple.” This description of Jews is close to the traditional religious

anti-Jewishness and helps answer the question as to why Hitler and his

collaborators chose the Jews to die in the first place. These ideas

permeated Western Christian culture and ideology.

Hitler's anti-Jewish ideas were imposed neither on the Germans

nor on others who hated Jews, because they were already convinced

that Jews were evil, and that is why Hitler and Nazi propaganda were

so effective. Hitler was expressing ideas and feelings publicly and

radically that many, if not most, Europeans--and many Americans--

already entertained in regard to the Jews.

The historical continuity of anti-Jewish ideas and imagery over

the last two millennia is clear testimony that no essential difference

exists between anti-Judaism and antisemitism.Three analogies from

the chemical, medical, and biological sciences help clarify

antisemitism’s ideological, social, and psychological nature. First,

although they exist within different historical contexts, anti-Jewish

ideas, emotions, and behaviors are reactive elements easily combining

with other ideologies, such as nationalism, racism, social Darwinism,

conservatism, fascism, and socialism to form an explosive compound.


Second, like a virus, anti-Jewishness rests dormant at different levels of

the societal and individual psyche, surfacing especially during the

throes of social or personal crisis. Third, although Jews have often been

compared to parasites in both medieval and modern antisemitic

imagery, antisemitism itself is a parasitic idea, growing more powerful

by feeding on the negative human emotions of fear, anger, anxiety,

and guilt.

The major themes that emerge from the following chronology

are:

1. There was widespread acceptance of Hitler's attitudes and

policies in his attempt first to exile and then to murder the Jews of

Europe. Just as the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal observed of

Hitler's Foreign Minister--"It is because Hitler's policy and plans

coincided with his own ideas that Ribbentrop served him so willingly to

the end"--so it can be said that many, if not most, Europeans, not just

Germans, followed Hitler's directives not because they had to, but

because they wanted to. Apathy, passivity, and fear assuredly

influenced them, but Hitler pointed the way to "solving" the Jewish

"problem," and, because centuries of anti-Jewish feelings had severed

the bonds of human community between Christians and the Jews, most

Europeans may not have wanted the Jews dead, but they certainly

were willing to have them put out of the way. So pervasive were anti-

Jewish feelings that many of Hitler's enemies in Germany, Eastern


Europe, France, England, and the United States sympathized with his

antagonism toward the Jews.

2. In the eighteenth century, George Washington had promised

the Jewish congregation of Newport, R.I., that “All [American citizens]

possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. . . .

For happily the government of the United States . . . gives to bigotry no

sanction, to persecution no assistance . . .. May the children of the

stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy

the goodwill of the other inhabitants.” Yet despite their claims to be

fighting a war for democracy and human rights, the attitudes of many

important American and British officials concerned with foreign policy

and refugees paralleled those of the Nazis and their collaborators. The

Allied governments' antipathy toward Jews was far removed from the

Nazi death factories, but even the indirect nature of this prejudice

became murderous when it shut off all avenues of hope and relief for

the millions of Jews trapped in Europe. Fear of the foreigner and

economic concerns certainly influenced the Allied leaders and their

peoples against Jewish immigrants, but anti-Jewishness had a

permanent, widespread, and continually devastating impact. The silent

or secret collaboration of the Allies confirmed to Hitler and his

European accomplices the "validity" of their anti-Jewish ideology and

Final Solution.

3. Palestine, then under British control, was geographically and


historically the best destination for Jewish refugees. The British War

Cabinet and many other government officials, however, opposed

allowing Palestine to serve as a refuge for Jews. These officials

indicated, even when they realized that the Nazis were murdering

millions of Jews, that they lacked the sense that Jews were human

beings.

4. Members of the Allied governments, including the British and

the American, knew of the Final Solution almost as soon as it was

begun through American reporters trapped in Germany until 1941,

reports from the Polish Government-in-Exile in London, testimony of

Jewish escapees, diplomatic channels, and through intercepted and

decoded German radio messages.

5. Thousands of individuals in the Allied nations and in occupied

Europe treated the Jews with respect and the Holocaust with the

urgency it deserved. As during the centuries that preceded the

Holocaust, thousands of Jews are saved by thousands of Christians who

overcame their fear of the Nazis and their collaborators and chose to

risk their lives to save the innocent. These Christians passed the moral

test of the times, which necessariily involved their attitudes and

behavior towards Jews.

6. Many governments and many people in Europe, later allies of,

or occupied by, Nazi Germany participated in a legal, political,

economic, social, and finally murderous attack on Jewish civilians under


their control. Once the Third Reich's forces occupied these nations,

they increasingly collaborated with Germany to destroy the Jews, their

culture, and their religion.

7. Jews react in a variety of ways to the Nazis and their

collaborators. A few Jews collaborated with the Germans, some

American Jews fled from the attempt to put political pressure on their

government to help with coreligionists, other Jews refused to face the

realities of the Final Solution, but most Jews fell into a spectrum that

ran from persistent adherence to their Judaism to guerrilla warfare

against the murderers.

The Holocaust: A Chronology and Documentary

by Robert Michael

Epigraph

He is an older man, walking with his young daughter through

their disorderly English garden. She wonders aloud why all the mice

are gone. He tells her that snakes have eaten them all. With the

innocence of childhood, she looks into his face and asks, "Daddy, why

do living things kill each other?" The father looks down into his
daughter's face, reflecting on an answer. After a while his eyes fill with

tears as he replies, "I don't know, my darling. I don't know." This

anguished parent was Charles Darwin, a man who had answered so

many other complicated questions about life and death. But even he,

confronted by this fundamental issue can only utter an admission of

ignorance.

Imagine then the difficulty for an historian when confronted by

the horror of the Holocaust? How does the historian explain why the

Western world has chosen Jews as the metaphor for suffering and the

reality of victimization? How does the historian confront the monstrous

belief that the Jews are radical enemies of the state and of humanity,

inherently evil beings who must be eradicated from the face of the

earth? How does the historian explain the silence of the world to the

Nazi atrocities? How does the historian face the murder of two million

Jewish children? There are no easy answers for these questions.

As you view the history of our time, turn and look at the

piles of bodies, pause for a short moment and imagine that this

poor residue of flesh and bones is your father, your child, your

wife, is th one you love. See yourself and those nearest to you, to

whom you are devoted heart and soul, thrown naked into the

dirt, tortured, starving, killed.”2

2Eugon Kogon citation is in Schoenberner, yellow star
Preface:

This chronology of the German war against the European Jews,

the Holocaust, traces the events of the years 1933 through 1946. The

intentional focus on the Jews victimized during the Holocaust is not

meant to diminish the suffering and deaths of millions of others during

this horrible period of history. A pragmatic German goal was to enslave

and exploit the non-Jewish populations of Europe; incidental to this

goal was the killing of millions of non-Jews. But the other, less

pragmatic and more ideological, intention was the slaughter of the

whole Jewish people in Europe.

A chronology of the Holocaust can never be totally accurate.

Authoritative histories differ not only as to the specific dates of

important and well-known events, such as the Soviet reconquest of

Stalingrad (Volgagrad), but they also disagree as to many of the most

important dates concerning the Holocaust, such as the timetable for

the decision on the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem.

What follows is a chronology enhanced by eyewitness testimony,

the experiences of Jewish victims, their victimizers, and the

bystanders, all of whom speak for themselves. Secondary material,

including the author's own opinions, is kept to an absolute minimum,

being layed out almost exclusively in the Introduction.

Introduction:
The word antisemitism, anti-Jewishness, the essential cause of

the Holocaust, is a nineteenth-century German word, Antisemitismus,

replacing Jew-hatred (Judenhass) in polite discourse and carrying with

it overtones of scientific authority and racism.3 But in the minds of

those hostile to Jews, antisemitism is not just an attack on the Jewish

"race" (the expression of the Jews’ biological nature); it is also

frequently a religious antipathy. For nearly 2,000 years before the

Holocaust takes place, religious antipathy toward Jews and toward the

Jewish spirit stands as the most significant explanation of Jew-hatred.

The more entrenched Christianity became, the worse and more

frequent the anti-Jewish rhetoric of Roman law became. The Jews were

“sacrilegious assemblies” (353 C.E.),

“polluted with the Jewish disease” (383),

“contaminated with Jewish sacraments” (384),

“insulters of the Christian faith” (408)

a “plague that spreads widely” (408),

“the abominable and vile” (409),

3See Moshe Zimmermann, Wilhelm Marr: The 
Patriarch of Antisemitism (Oxford 1986), 113. The 
Great Brockhaus dictionary of 1882 clearly defined 
antisemite as a “Hater of Jews. Opponent of 
Judaism.” See also Ben Halpern, “What Is 
Antisemitism?” Modern Judaism 1(1981), 251­62. 
“enemies of Roman law” (438),

“monstrous heretics” (438),

“the worst of men” (438),

and “blindly senseless” (438).

Judaism was referred to as

“a deadly and sacriligious sect” (329),

“a brothel” (329),

“the Jewish perversity, alien and hostile to the Roman Empire”

(409),

“the mark of Jewish filth” (415),

“corrupt with the filth of its particular sect” (417),

“the insanity of the Jewish blasphemy” (425),

“an abominable sect and rite” (438),

“frightful and hideous” (438).4

4C.T. 3:1:5, 15:5:5, 16:5:44, 16:7:3, 16:8:7, 16:8:19, 
16:8:22, 16:9:4 and Codex Justinianus 1:9:3, 1:7:5, 
and 1:5:7. See also Novella 3 to the law of Theodosius 
II of 31 January 438, in Linder, The Jews in Roman 
Imperial Legislation, doc. 54. See also Clyde Pharr, 
tr., The Theodosian Code and Novels and the 
Sirmondian Constitutions (Princeton 1952), 489. 
Hereafter, the Codex Justinianus will be referred to as 
C.J.
The most notorious racist of the twentieth century, Adolf Hitler,

oftentimes talks as a traditional biological racist. His rhetoric reminds

us of Catholic Spain in the 16th century, where the first

institutionalized racism occurred.5 But he concludes near the end of his

life that biological racism is a sham. It is the Jewish mind and values,

the “Jewish spirit,” that he hates. The only way to rid the world of this

Jewish spirit, he determines, is to destroy the Jewish bodies that house

it. Hitler tells his last private secretary, close associate, and second-in-

command, Martin Bormann, that

“we use the term Jewish race as a matter of convenience, for in

reality and from the genetic point of view there is no such thing

as the Jewish race. There does, however, exist a community. . . .

It is [a] spiritually homogeneous group [to] which all Jews

throughout the world deliberately adhere . . . and it is this group

of human beings to which we give the title Jewish race.”6

Hitler describes the Jews as “an abstract race of the mind [that] has its

5Poliakov.
6First published in French by Fayard as Le Testament 
politique de Hitler: Notes Recueillies par Martin 
Bormann (Paris 1959), it contains an important 
monologue of 13 February 1945. Republished in 
English as The Testament of Adolf Hitler: The Hitler­
Bormann Documents, February­April 1945 (London 
1961).
origins, admittedly, in the Hebrew religion . . .. A race of the mind is

something more solid, more durable that just a [biological] race, pure

and simple.”7 In describing an ideological Jewishness, based on

religion, Hitler brings himself close to the traditional religious

antagonism toward Jews and helps answer the question as to why

Hitler and his collaborators chose the Jews to die in the first place.

Three analogies from the chemical, medical, and biological

sciences help clarify antisemitism’s ideological, social, and

psychological nature. First, although they exist within different

historical contexts,8 anti-Jewish ideas, emotions, and behaviors are

reactive elements easily combining with other ideologies, such as

nationalism, racism, social darwinism, conservatism, fascism, and

socialism to form an explosive compound.9 Second, like a virus, anti-

Jewishness rests dormant at different levels of the societal and

individual psyche,10 surfacing especially during the throes of social or

7Hitler, The Testament of Adolf Hitler, 55­6.
8See Marcel Simon, Verus Israel (Eng.) 395.
9See Robert Wistrich, Antisemitism: The Longest 
Hatred (London 1991), xvi­xvii.
10“As historical horizons shifted [antisemitism] could 
maintain its power and still accommodate all sorts of 
variations on the basic pattern.” Alter, “From Myth to 
Murder,” 41. See also Uriel Tal, Christians and Jews in 
personal crisis. Third, although Jews have often been compared to

parasites in both medieval and modern antisemitic imagery,

antisemitism itself is a parasitic idea, growing more powerful by

feeding on the negative human emotions of fear, anger, anxiety, and

guilt.

The major themes that emerge from the following Holocaust

chronology are:

1. The widespread acceptance of Hitler's attitudes and policies in

his attempt first to exile and then to murder the Jews of Europe. Just

as the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal observed of Hitler's Foreign

Minister--"It is because Hitler's policy and plans coincided with his own

ideas that Ribbentrop served him so willingly to the end"11--so it can be

said that many, if not most, Europeans felt a strong antipathy toward

Jews. Apathy, passivity, and fear were assuredly influences on the

non-Jews of Europe. But Hitler also expressed the same feelings about

Jews that most Europeans had experienced for centuries. He pointed

the way to "solving" the Jewish "problem," and many Europeans, not

just Germans, followed Hitler not because they had to, but because

they wanted to. True, the traditional Christian ideological approach to

the Jews saw them punished but not perished. Christians were

sometimes envious, othertimes contemptuous of Jews, occasionally

Germany (Ithaca 1975), 276.
11Snyder,Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, 296.
murderous (six million Jews may have already been murdered within

Christendom over the previous 1900 years). Most Europeans wanted

the Jews out of the way. Centuries of antisemitism had severed the

bonds of human community between most Christians and Jews.

2. Thousands of individuals in the Allied nations and in Occupied

Europe treat the Jews with respect and the Holocaust with the urgency

it deserves. As during the centuries that preceded the Holocaust,

thousands of Jews are saved by thousands of Christians who overcame

their fear of the Nazis and their collaborators and choose to risk their

lives to save the innocent.

3. In the 18th century, George Washington had promised the

Jewish congregation of Newport, R.I., that “All [American citizens]

possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. . . .

For happily the government of the United States . . . gives to bigotry no

sanction, to persecution no assistance . . .. May the children of the

stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy

the goodwill of the other inhabitants.”12 Yet despite their claims to be

12George Washington, “A Reply to the Hebrew 
Congregation of Newport,” Paul Mendes­Flohr and 
Jehuda Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World: A 
Documentary History (New York 1980), Ch. 9, 
Document 8. A century later, Russian Jews were 
appealing to their American brothers to “come to our 
fighting a war for democracy and human rights, the attitudes of many

important American and British officials concerned with foreign policy

and refugees parallel those of the Nazis and their collaborators. The

Allied governments' antipathy toward Jews is far removed from the

Nazi death factories, but even the indirect nature of this prejudice

becomes murderous when it shuts off all avenues of hope and relief for

the millions of Jews trapped in Europe. Fear of the foreigner and

economic concerns certainly influenced the Allied leaders and their

peoples against Jewish immigrants, but antisemitism had a widespread

and devastating impact. The silent or secret collaboration of the Allies

confirms to Hitler and his European accomplices the "validity" of their

anti-Jewish ideology and Final Solution.

4. Palestine, then under British control, is geographically and

historically the best destination for Jewish refugees. The British War

Cabinet and many other government officials, however, oppose

allowing Palestine to serve as a refuge for Jews. These officials indicate,

even when they realize that the Nazis are murdering millions of Jews,

that they lack the sense that Jews are human beings.

5. The long history of antisemitism had conditioned many,

perhaps most, Europeans and Americans to regard the Jews as

dangerous, evil people who should be kept out of Christian

help . . . let us touch the sacred soil of Washington.” 
Feingold, Zion in America, 118.
society, if not fully exterminated. The position of the Church

Fathers themselves on the Jews is perhaps best summarized in

the words of the 4th century St. Ambrose, who sees any

contact with Jews as a defilement. He believes that due to "the

stench of its crimes, the Jewish people soils its pretended

bodily purity by the internal feces of its soul [ordures

interieures de l'ame]." Antisemitism is rife not only among Allied

government officials but also among the Allied peoples and writers.

That many if not most of the greatest American and British writers, the

creators and caretakers of our national heritage and culture, were

extraordinarily antagonistic to Jews reveals the depth and breadth of

antisemitism among the allied nations. One single example, of dozens,

should suffice here: Nathanael Hawthorne wrote this of a Jew who sat

across from him at dinner one night:

“There sat the very Jew of Jews; the distilled essence of all the

Jews that have . . . been born since Jacob's time; he was Judas

Iscariot; he was the Wandering Jew; he was the worst, and at the

same time, the truest type of his race . . .. I never beheld

anything so ugly and disagreeable, and preposterous, and

laughable, as the outline of his profile; it was so hideously Jewish,

and so cruel . . .. I rejoiced exceedingly in this Shylock, this

Iscariot; for the sight of him justified me in the repugnance I have


always felt towards his race.”13

6. Many governments and many people in Europe, later allies of,

or occupied by, Nazi Germany participate in a legal, political,

economic, social, and finally murderous attack on Jewish civilians under

their control. Once the Third Reich's forces occupy these nations, they

increasingly collaborate with Germany to destroy the Jews, their

culture, and their religion.

7. Jews react in a variety of ways to the Nazis and their

collaborators. Some Jews collaborated with the Germans, some

American Jews fled from the attempt to put political pressure on their

government to help with coreligionists, other Jews refused to face the

realities of the Final Solution, but most Jews fell into a spectrum that

ran from persistent adherence to their Judaism to guerrilla warfare

against the murderers.

13Hawthorne, The English Notebooks (New York 1941), p. 321.